A sulfated polysaccharide named calcium spirulan (Ca-SP) has been isolated from a sea alga, Spirulina platensis, as an antiviral component. The anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and anti-herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) activities of Ca-SP were compared with those of dextran sulfate (DS) as a representative sulfated polysaccharide. Anti-HIV-1 activities of these agents were measured by three different assays: viability of acutely infected CD4-positive cells, or a cytopathology assay; determination of HIV-1 p24 antigen released into culture supernatants; and inhibition of HIV-induced syncytium formation. Anti-HSV-1 activity was assessed by plaque yield reduction. In addition, their effects on the blood coagulation processes and stability in the blood were evaluated. These data indicate that Ca-SP is a potent antiviral agent against both HIV-1 and HSV-1. Furthermore, Ca-SP is quite promising as an anti-HIV agent because even at low concentrations of Ca-SP an enhancement of virus-induced syncytium formation was not observed, as was observed in DS-treated cultures, Ca-SP had very low anticoagulant activity, and showed a much longer half-life in the blood of mice when compared with that of DS. Thus, Ca-SP can be a candidate agent for an anti-HIV therapeutic drug that might overcome the disadvantages observed in many sulfated polysaccharides. When the role of chelation of calcium ion with sulfate groups was examined by removing calcium or its replacement by sodium, the presence of calcium ion in the molecule was shown to be essential for the dose-dependent inhibition of cytopathic effect and syncytium formation induced by HIV-1.